Flooded Boat, Immediate Actions?

MASH

N/A
Joined
8 Mar 2004
Messages
2,188
Visit site
My 30yr old Sadler has flooded with rainwater over the winter in the E Med to a depth of 20cm above the cabin sole. The interior is badly affected by damp, mildew and corrosion. It is possible the water has been in there for weeks if not longer. Leaving the whys and wherefores out of it, what can I get done (because I can't get there myself for months) to minimise the damage and prepare the boat for the ensuing repairs?

Much of the interior is good quality mahogany and mahogany faced ply. The water has been pumped out. The weather is getting warmish now (mid teens), but cool at night. Is a dehumidifier a good idea or will it dry the wood out too fast? Will natural ventilation dry it out at all, or enough? How long does it take, and will the wood/ply be usable after it is dried or will it need replacing (ugh!)

How much damage is to be expected to a) the submerged wooden components b) the rest of the wood exposed to mildew and damp (most is only varnished on the exposed face of course), c) electrics. d)sails laid out in the cabin above water level.

I know I can get surveys done for £00s, but I need practical advice from people with some experience in this, although I sincerely hope there aren't too many of them about...

Any advice or tips appreciated.
 
Joined
29 Apr 2009
Messages
82
Location
Brixham
Visit site
Which sort of Sadler? If our 29 flooded to that sort of depth the electrics may be above the line and therefore ok, but I'd worry about the integrity of the base of main bulkhead, also water ingress to the foam fill between inner and outer skins.
 

sarabande

Well-known member
Joined
6 May 2005
Messages
35,974
Visit site
this does not sound like a good forecast for any of the wood which has been soaked for a long time.

Apart from draining the boat, stopping the cause of the flooding, and allowing lots and lots of ventilation, there's nothing you can do unless you are working on board.

A dehumidifier in such circumstances would need a closed boat to operate effectively, otherwise you are just extracting water from the world outside.

Some marine plywood might be OK, but any softwood carcasing, and veneers, will be soaked and rot spores will have set in.

It is likely that all immersed electrics junctions will be corroded, and any instruments and sensors not IP68 rated will be suspect.

Sails should be OK, but need some sunshine to prevent mildew marking them permanently.


All sad, and I am very sorry for you, as they are lovely boats.
 
Last edited:

oldharry

Well-known member
Joined
30 May 2001
Messages
9,856
Location
North from the Nab about 10 miles
Visit site
Lots and lots of ventilation - the more through draft the better. Main and forehatch open, and a tarp iover the boat to stop more rain gettinmg in is best. Unless you are using a dehumidifier which will do the same job, but at cost (they havent taxed fresh air - yet). Dehumidifer might be slightly quicker if you are in a hurry.

While it is drying, you can start checking electrics. ANY joint which has been submerged will, even if it looks OK, need re-wiring back to sound. ANY copper wire exposed below water will have turned black, giving resistive and troublesome joints. If the insulation is completely intact - i.e. the cable has remained watertight, then it MIGHT be ok, but connections even near the water may well have become damp.

Once the timber has dried out, you can work you way around it sytematically. Good plywood should have survived - using either a small ball pein hammer, or the handle of a larger screwdriver to tap the wood. Practice on a known sound piece, you will soon learn to distinguish between the solid 'ring' of sound ply, and the dull cardboard sound it makes when it goes soft. If suspect try probing it gently with a sharp point. This damages it so dont get carried away with probing - I have seen a sound plywood panel ruined by over enthusiastic 'checking' with a probe! Solid timber components will likewise show up on a knock test. Rot may have set in, but a few weeks submerged for good quality timber may well be undamaged. Water marks beneath the varnish require it to be stripped back and revarnished from scratch unless the wood has gone black. There ARE bleaches which will lighten black water stains, but it is the first stage of rot and is suspect. The bleaches kill the rot, but you need to be sure the timber is still sound.

Bad luck, but not the end of the world. May mean you are a bit late getting sailing this year, though. :)
 

rhumlady

New member
Joined
3 Dec 2004
Messages
870
Location
Dumbarton
Visit site
Hopefully you have no oil there which will make things even harder to clean up. The smell lingers forever... Good luck and as said already lots of fresh air.
 

Caer Urfa

Well-known member
Joined
28 Aug 2006
Messages
1,838
Location
Shropshire
groups.yahoo.com
to a depth of 20cm above the cabin sole
Any advice or tips appreciated.[/QUOTE]

Oops!

One thing not mentioned so far is water in the engine sump, I am not sure how high the top of your engine dip stick is but suggest you check engine oil quality on the dip stick.

Also check your gearbox oil quality, if it looks pale and milky it's got water in and needs changing.

If all looks ok and your bateries are ok run the engine if possible it will warm everything up in the engine and the engine bay.

As others have said fresh air does wonders an electrical blow heater will shink wood fast and may cause cracking.

I won't ask why the automatic bilge pump did not start?

Good luck
Mike
 

Thistle

Well-known member
Joined
2 Oct 2004
Messages
3,923
Location
Here
Visit site
I wonder why no-one has suggested contacting your insurer and asking what they want you to do to help minimise their loss?

By all means pump out and put a cover over whatever was letting the water in ... then insurer! The sooner they are involved the less chance they will have of wriggling out.
 

MASH

N/A
Joined
8 Mar 2004
Messages
2,188
Visit site
The insurer has declined to pay, they say it is wear and tear as it was not a single specific event but took place over a period of time!

I will be persuing all avenues to get satisfaction, if no joy I will name and shame.
 

oldvarnish

Active member
Joined
15 Jul 2005
Messages
1,893
Visit site
The insurer has declined to pay, they say it is wear and tear as it was not a single specific event but took place over a period of time!


I got caught that way too after a rainwater flooding in Norway where I'd left a boat for a few weeks. I suppose if I'd told them the water tanks burst, or something quick and nasty, they'd have paid up.
 
Joined
26 Nov 2009
Messages
13,406
Location
everywhere
Visit site
The insurer has declined to pay, they say it is wear and tear as it was not a single specific event but took place over a period of time!

I will be persuing all avenues to get satisfaction, if no joy I will name and shame.

You might struggle there. Insurance is for accidents ie something failed through unforseen circumstances rather than age or inadequate maintenance.. So you need to find a cause for the flooding that isnt something like a leaky hatch seal that wasnt spotted by the people looking after the boat - say a hatch that was broken into by a thief and left open :)

Your policy wont cover for things that were easily forseen and could have been prevented. So you need to prove it wasnt.
 

Hoolie

Well-known member
Joined
3 Mar 2005
Messages
7,835
Location
Hants/Lozère
Visit site
It may not be very relevant to you MASH but I have used wood hardener to good effect on wood that has softened due to rot. It's like "dope" as used on canvas aircraft etc. I treated our lower stairs that had a century or so of damp and were very soft in places. After treatment the wood was solid and now it's varnished there's no sign of a problem.

More recently I discovered a long term leak on one of the boat windows and the grab rail over the cooker and the plywood backing to the head-lining were extremely soft and spongy (and black!). I treated them and the wood is now probably stronger than it was originally - takes a long time to dry though, weeks if it's seriously spongy.
 

MASH

N/A
Joined
8 Mar 2004
Messages
2,188
Visit site
Some useful advice there, so thanks!

Boat was chocked bow-down by the marina but its a waste of time claiming from a Turkish marina!
Water collected fwd in cockpit instead of aft to drains and flooded down into dinghy stowage + interior.

Beware!
 

Chris_Robb

Well-known member
Joined
15 Jun 2001
Messages
8,051
Location
Haslemere/ Leros
Visit site
Some useful advice there, so thanks!

Boat was chocked bow-down by the marina but its a waste of time claiming from a Turkish marina!
Water collected fwd in cockpit instead of aft to drains and flooded down into dinghy stowage + interior.

Beware!

Given the above circumstances, you should be able to claim off your insurance, and your insurers should then make a claim against the marina who have been negligent. This is not a result of your lack of maintenance or you leaving a hatch open. This is the direct result of some-one else's negligence and therefore should be covered by your insurance...... Have a stronger go at them.
 
Top